Celebrating NZ’s first Public Service Day

Tomorrow is New Zealand’s first official Public Service Day, which acknowledges and celebrates the cornerstone of New Zealand’s system of government, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“November 7 is the day the Public Service Act 1912 became law. It was a historically significant event because it established a professional, politically neutral Public Service,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We have a Public Service to be proud of. It remains fundamental to New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements for supporting the Government.”

About 45,000 people work in the core Public Service, with another 300,000 working in the broader State sector. Each of those individuals comes to work every day to serve their community, Chris Hipkins said.

“Public servants run our schools and hospitals and keep our communities safe. They protect our environment, borders and heritage, and they defend our country.

“Our Public Service does an excellent job, but we can help it do better. And that means change and innovation. We are building a vision for a modern, agile and unified public service that can achieve even better results for New Zealanders.

“We are supporting that vision with a review of the State Sector Act 1988. More than 30 State Sector Act reform public consultation workshops and hui were held around New Zealand in September and October, with more than 300 submissions made.

“These submissions are still being analysed. But we already know that hundreds of people who care about the future of the Public Service took the consultation very seriously and made substantial and well-considered submissions,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Some groups, such as the Public Service Association and South Island iwi, even ran their own mini-consultations to make sure the voices of their people were heard. The PSA’s collective submission reflects responses from more than 400 members. And the PSA’s Māori rūnanga has also made a separate submission.

“The State Services Commission will give me a full report early in the new year, after which the Government will make decisions. But it’s important to remember that this isn’t just about law change – it’s about changing the way we work to deliver public services that are effective and relevant to New Zealanders in the modern era.”